Links 11/3/11

Clever birds plan for the future BBC

US and Israeli Tech Teams Develop “Malworm” to Take Down Iran’s Computer Software Truthout (hat tip reader furzy mouse)

The End of the Credit Card? Slate (hat tip reader 1SK)

Cell Study Finds a Way to Slow Ravages of Age Wall Street Journal

Texas judge confesses to beating disabled daughter Raw Story (hat tip reader doru). Ugly.

G-20 Leaders Mull Push for Yuan Flexibility Bloomberg. Is this meant to be a stick to encourage China to participate in the levered EFSF?

Athens in turmoil as cabinet splits Financial Times. The finance minister changed his position after visiting the G20 in Cannes. Wonder what he was offered to sell out. Update: Text of his statement, hat tip reader Swedish Lex.

Brilliant Moves by Papandreou; EMU Mentions Eurozone Exit Possibility First Time Ever; Who the Hell is Merkozy to Dictate Terms of a Greek Referendum? Michael Shedlock (hat tip reader furzy mouse). As indicated in an earlier post, even if Papandreou loses in a vote of no confidence, civil disobedience may still force a vote.

Greece will be cut adrift if bail-out is refused, says EU Telegraph (hat tip reader Swedish Lex)

Obama Calls for Detailed Europe Plan Wall Street Journal. What is Obama doing? This is awfully late in the game to be offering useless 50,000 foot comments.

Will Europe drag us all down? MacroBusiness (hat tip reader Aquifer)

The medieval, unaccountable Corporation of London is ripe for protest George Monbiot, Guardian (hat tip Ryan C). This was also covered nicely in Nick Shaxson’s Treasure Islands and is important material if you didn’t read about the City of London there.

China money market rates tumble Financial Times

Swimming Naked in China The Diplomat

Sixty percent of China’s rich want to leave the country Ed Harrison

Banks Extract Fees On Unemployment Benefits Huffington Post

Bernanke and Banks Tested by Latest Market Strains Wall Street Journal (hat tip Joe Costello). The WSJ now wakes up to the fact that nothing was fixed and we might have another crisis? Help me.

Many Alarms Rang Before MF Global Crashed New York Times

MF Global’s fall puts spotlight on CME Group Financial Times

On MF Bruce Krasting

Emperor Corzine’s Goldman clothes John Gapper, Financial Times

Who is Occupy Wall Street? After six weeks, a profile finally emerges Christian Science Monitor

#OccupySupply Launches First Shipment of Cold Weather Gear FireDogLake. I got a preview, page goes live at 9:30 AM Eastern.

Occupy Wall Street launches a news site:

SEC expects to file further CDO charges Financial Times. Pathetic. The SEC plans to file a few cases to pretend it has Done Something.

Group Endorses Walk Out in Economics 10 Harvard Crimson. Reader Glenn Condell report the walk-out was substantial.

Antidote du jour:

Print Friendly, PDF & Email


  1. dearieme

    And thank you, Yves, for illustrating that story of the Harvard walk-out with a portrait of one of the students concerned, munching his Gum leaves.

  2. Middle Seaman

    The story of the anti Iranian Malware sounds very much like the old anti Semitic stories about Jewish conspiracies. It involves major Jewish heads of Google and Oracle and the evil meaning Israelis.

    Truthout is a representative of the old left and old thinking that sees the world as turning around earth, in their case the Palestinians, in a morality play where Israel and the US play the devil.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      I don’t know where you’ve been, but it was widely reported on tech sites (and techies are not on the whole lefties, many are libertarians) that Stuxnet was designed by Israel to target Iran. This is not new news, and I’m pretty surprised at your pushback.

      Google is part of the national security state, in case you missed that as well.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Science and hi tech tend to favor the rich and powerful.

        Often, the advances in those fields are, frist of all, funded in their earlier stages by the rich/powerful and deemed by them to favor them (and once in a while, the rest of us, strictly accidental though), and secondly, are introduced and put into use when found useful to the rich/powerful.

    2. Hugh

      More hasbara propaganda. Any criticism of Israel evokes an automatic, and intellectually empty, charge of anti-semiticism.

  3. aet

    Gee, the Chinese sound almost Germanic in their fiscal rectitude, according to this piece:

    Seems the Chinese would generally agree, with the German “everyman”, about their own Government’s tax revenues being used to “shore up” another Nation’s credit standing; or, with the American “everyman”, about their own Government’s tax revenues being used to “bail out” large privately-held investment houses (called “banks” in the USA “press”).

    In fact, who has EVER voted to use tax revenues like that?
    Oh right, the USA’s Marshall Plan might count…

    Nevertheless, even in the absence of such a vote, the “shoring up and bailing out” may yet be the right and prudent thing to do, depending upon the level of prior outright criminality which might be involved. Consider again the Marshall Plan….and the effects of the type of criminality it sought to assuage, both in Europe and in the USA.

    That is to say, that failure to do so, that is, to shore up and bail out, may serve to strengthen, rather than weaken, the very people and institutions whose actions brought these crises about in the first instance; whilst simultaneously serving to wound the legitimacy of the Governments, which are seeking to correct the effects of the prior mal-feasance – for thereby those Governments are denied, by the very people whom they wish to help, the necessary means to do so (ie see the decreases, rather than increases, in Government support payments to the poor in the USA, as a direct result of the losses in tax receipts, losses which have occurred due to the crises).

    OTOH, IF there are people profiting from these crises systematically (and that is a very big “if”), they must be very clever people indeed, with great insight as to how people and institutions would act and re-act to the developments which they have contemplated and set in train: and thus, perhaps, only an un-expected step – by those whom they are seeking to manipulate into making decisions which would ultimately be for their own benefit – or more likely, an un-expected extraneous emergent circumstance, would serve to defeat their well-laid plans and machinations.

    For the best-laid plans oft go awry.

    Don’t tie the hands of your Governments, or turn your backs on them: those Governments are ALL that “little people” have in the way of effective power – if you’ve still got it on the side of the majority of the populace, that is – to correct the problems brought on by the powerful, selfish and unscrupulous.

    My advice is to simply ignore any calls to dis-mantle or reduce Government – that “de-regulation” is what has got us here – while all the while seeking to increase your engagement with governance. Use your democracy, to get what you need. Change bits and pieces of legislation, don’t rip up the Constitution!

    Use the Government’s power, their tax revenues, to punish the guilty – if any there be guilty – and to ameliorate the effects of their crimes – if any such crimes there be – on the general public.

    Do the opposite of what got us here, in other words.

  4. SouthNorth

    Thanks for the link to the HuffPo piece about electronic benefit transfer. In 2002, a team of researchers at University of North Carolina looked at the early wave of implementation of those programs (Food Stamps in particular) and found them problematic on many dimensions, though they appeared to be a great deal for the vendors/banks The UNC report is at

    Almost 10 year later, the same problems exist and appear to have spread to more benefit programs — programs that are being used by many more people due to the recession.

  5. Jeff

    Re No more credit cards.

    I remember reading a book about forty years ago
    called “The Cashless Society”…in it the author mentioned the tax authorities salivating over the possibility of charging whatever sales tax they wanted by a few

    Also, picture this: You can no longer buy anything, including food or fuel as you have a pending parking ticket that is unpaid or, some court action against you.

    Cash is king. Cash is freedom.
    Whatever technology is being flogged
    here is only a means of potential social control and
    a means to disempower people and is handing more power and more money to Wall Street.

    Swipe card fees, ATM charges to get your own money
    and credit card rip offs are all part of
    “convenience” as well.

    1. Praedor

      I don’t necessarily want to tie my name to anything/everything I buy. Cash is superior because you can buy whatever the hell you want without divulging your name, address, etc. There’s no ability to track you or your purchase if made with cash.

      The privacy violation involved in using plastic OR this pay app (phones are unsecure in any case and you WILL be hacked) alone is all that one needs to know to realize the superiority of cash for many things.

  6. Bill

    The Texas Judge beating his daughter video is
    truly horrifying.

    My stepfather used to occasionally spank us with
    his belt, which was doubly awful as he was angry
    when he did it. But he never did it like this, as
    leaning his body into it, and it was only on our

    And he never cursed at us. BTW, This “Judge” is
    a Family Law Judge who hears child abuse cases.

    Can you imagine how lenient he would be on abusive
    parents if he considers his behavior the “norm”
    –as we all most often do.

  7. Bill

    Re: Brilliant moves by Papandreou:

    I read a story here this past week in which some
    politician said something like: We know what needs to be done, we just can’t figure out how to do it and still get

    Looks like Papandreou has figured that out !

    1. aet

      Well the Greeks have always been very consistently….inconsistent.

      Well, I suppose that they best know how to deal with themselves.

      But that characteristic does make it difficult to set a proper rate of interest on the money they want to borrow from others, though.


  8. Lloyd C. Bankster

    The People vs. Goldman Sachs

    “On November 3rd, the People, the 99 percent, will hold A People’s Hearing of Goldman Sachs in Liberty Square Park and march on Goldman Sachs….

    The proceedings will also include expert analysis from Ralph Nader, Cornel West and Chris Hedges. Following the 99-minute hearing the people will decide on a fair and deliverable verdict via our own process of consensus-based direct democracy – and we intend to deliver it ourselves – to the headquarters of Goldman Sachs at 200 West Street, eight blocks from Liberty Square…”

    Great. Now I’ll have to listen to bongo drums during lunch.

    Didn’t these people get the memo that no crimes were committed?

    Haven’t they read Andrew Ross Sorkin, Roger Lowenstein, or the NY Times?

    Don’t they listen to NPR? Or CNN’s Erin Burnett (and Goldman alumni, btw)?

    If no one’s listening, then what are we paying all these people for?

  9. Praedor

    If, as seems likely now, Pap loses the confidence vote and the Greek government falls (all over the referendum call), the resulting temporary coalition government that must result cannot OK the austerity plan can it? The entire bailout (of banks at Greece’s people’s expense) goes on hold until a full election and a new government is created right?

    Or can these scum in the Greek government toss out Pap, throw together an illegitimate temporary coalition, pass all the onerous bullshit austerity/bailout policies, all while preparing for a real election? If the former, there is no way for the idiot robber barons in the Greek government to escape a referendum because the vote for a new government WILL be the referendum. If the latter than the people of Greece are f*cked and need to overthrown their illegitimate government.

  10. Susan the other

    The Guardian on the Corporation (City) of London: Here’s a flashback for you from “The Meltdown” part 1 at about the 43 min. mark. It’s where Hank Paulson is frantically trying to get the British to cooperate on the Barclays deal for keeping Lehman from collapsing but they refuse to ok the deal (we are led to believe they will not burden their own taxpayers with a possible bankruptcy) and when Paulson is turned down he hangs up the phone and says ruefully: “The British just screwed us.”

    So now we can file today’s sentence from the Guardian: “Lehman Bros couldn’t get legal approval for its off balance sheet transactions in Wall Street so it used a London law firm” alongside Hank Paulson’s comment. We are invited to assume the London law firm used legal arguments based on the City of London’s age-old immunities from responsibility.

  11. anon48

    RE: Cell Study Finds a Way to Slow Ravages of Age

    Wish I could believe this. The article doesn’t say that Mayo owns the rights to the drug- just that they’re funding the research. Did a real quick check of the Mayo website but couldn’t find anything on that.

    Would be nice if we actually could determine who owned those rights. Would better enable following the money and connecting the dots to see who’s ultimately paying for the research, and thereby judge the true validity of the anti-aging claim. Shame that the general lack of trust of health care/ big pharma has the effect of diminishing the perceived reliability of any of their proclamations regardless as to the actual level of truth upon which they are based.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      After one

      1) has triply filtered clean drinking water
      2) eats organic foods
      3) lives where there is clean air
      4) doesn’t stress out over losing one’s job

      then, one worries about the ravages of aging; otherwise, avoiding becoming a crime victim and evading carcinogens top the priority list.

      So, basically, unless you have a Neanderthal or semi-Neanderthal lifestyle in the wild, you have to be, if you are a citydweller, a billionaire (more or less) to have aging at the top of your list.

      Ask an Occupier if she is concerned about aging right now.

      Ask a jobless person.

      Ask a cancer patient.

      Ask anyone whose mortgage is underwater.

      So, Slowing the ravages of aging is fine. But it presupposes one is able to age naturally, free of crimes, carcinogens, diseases, etc.; and we have other things to take care of right now.

      1. anon48

        It’s not purely an anti-aging issue. if you read the article, the findings, if true could lead to medical solutions that could help resolve multiple diseases that result from the normal aging process. That IS very much worth investigating now.

        My point was that I don’t know whether to believe those claims, anymore than I was personally able to believe the claim of my doctor ten years ago that this drug was a necessary solution to my high cholesterol problem.

        After taking it for years I was forced to stop because of significant allergic reactions which resulted in other health problems I could not connect at the time to the drug I was prescribed, but assumed I was just getting older and had to deal with these types of things(won’t bore you with the details but I happened upon that discovery by accident without the Doctor’s help). He later concurred but then subsequently prescribed a supplement , that also contained statins (a detail he neglected to mention ) and I subsequently had allergic reactions, again I determined that it contained statins on my own.

        My sense is that the main reason this drug initially became the go-to drug for high cholesterol was because of all the money the Big Pharma company threw at “Scientific Research”. I’ll be very interested to see if the medical profession continues to push this drug once it goes off patent (and has to start competing with generics)later this year without as many promotionl dollars behind it because the drug company will be making much less money from it.

        Hopefully, you’re young and/or healthy and don’t have to worry about such things. Also hope you now get the point of the comment- lack of trust in any published medical findings.

        1. anon48

          Point of clarification- the drug to which I referred is a well known cholesterol medication which was different than the drug referenced in the article.

  12. Hugh

    So much for democracy. That didn’t take long. Greek finance minister Venizelos, apparently someone with absolutely no sense of irony, broke with the government saying that the euro bailout was too important to be left to the people to decide. At this point, Papandreou who we should remember is, was, and forever will be a weasel canceled the referendum and entered into talks with other parties for a government of national unity. This is really quite a coup for Papandreou, I mean literally. He is getting Greece’s other political parties to go on record selling out to Berlin and Paris just as he has done. As for the government of national unity, the primary source of unity looks to be in how Greece’s elites can screw over ordinary Greeks.

    A good livestream of events can be found here:

    1. Praedor

      Pap and his government can cancel the referendum but the referendum will happen anyway. It will be in the form of more/worse rioting, voting out ALL the members of the current government in the next election.

      One way or another, the Greek people will have the final word.

        1. appointmetotheboard

          Amazing really. We started out the day with Greece looking for a referendum, and it looks like they will end it with even less democracy. A government of unity? There won’t even be an opposition to put a different point of view across.

    1. Anonymous Jones

      Pretty good article actually.

      Why is it that the only place to get something that even resembles news on TV is a parody show like the Daily Show and that a decent article on bias only shows up on a comedy website?


      Love that the author focused partially on the Double Standard, one of the less publicized fallacies. We *always* find a way to forgive our own little faults and have *no* patience for faults of others to which we are not easily susceptible. [moi aussi, bien sur]

  13. Waking Up

    Something that became obvious to me after
    reading the comments at the Harvard Crimson
    regarding “Group Organizes Walkout at
    Econ 10” is the pathetic state of that
    institution when dismissive comments such as
    “freshmen” are made about students who
    dare question the curriculum. They mock
    people who use critical thinking skills?
    These are now our “best and brightest”???

  14. Jim Sterling

    The real lesson of the China article is that no matter how “socialist” your country, 40% of the rich don’t even want to leave, and the others who say they want to leave, haven’t left. So much for the horrible threat of capital flight if politicians aren’t nice enough to rich people. (Has China suffered from a drain in capital? I hear the opposite)

    1. appointmetotheboard

      By contrast, many wealthy Greeks have ended up here in London, according to occassional bulletins from estate agents, anyway.

      Greeks looking abroad for safe property investments

      The trick may be to make sure that a citizen pays their taxes in full to their country of origin, regardless of the local tax rules – I think the US has a tax code along these lines. Though not for corporations, obviously.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Could it be greed that they haven’t left – trying to make more while the going for looting is still good?

      Maybe, on the other hand, they are not allowed to leave or have a hard time getting permission to leave.

  15. Eureka Springs

    Curious what Yves and the NCers think of this… along with OWS demonstrations in support of the idea.

    Capitol Hill Democrats introduced legislation today that would impose a tax on financial transactions in order to curb high-frequency trading and force Wall Street to contribute a bigger share to the federal budget.

    A measure written by Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, and Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-Ore., would place a 0.03% levy on financial trading in stocks and bonds at their market value. It also would cover derivative contracts, options, puts, forward contracts and swaps at their purchase price.


    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      How about taxing campaign contributions at 50% and use that to provide public funding ?

      Say, in a race of three candidates, one Republican, one Democrat and one Indepedent, the Republican receives $1 billion in donations and the Democrat receives $2 billion and the Indepedent is going with public funding, then

      1) the Republican keeps $500 million after that tax
      2) the Democrat keeps $1 billion after that tax
      3) the publicly financed Independent get $1.5 billion from the 2 other candidates.

      How sweet would that be!

      It would be even sweeter if we make it 60%.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Except a cashless (no cash, i.e. money, involved) barter society.

      I try to avoid using the term cash barter (also as in non-lending/borrowing barter) and, instead, use the term non-credit barter, because cashless barter could be interpretted to mean also cash barter.

  16. Foppe

    Here’s a nice post by Taibbi ridiculing Bloomberg’s recent assertion that the GFC was caused by politicians forcing Fannie/Freddie to lend too much.

  17. Jeff

    Bad URL on the video that accompanies the brand new
    Michael Hudson piece which is readable, but no video.
    Also can’t leave a comment at bottom of it because
    “read the rest” goes nowhere.

  18. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    What is Obama doing? This is awfully late in the game to be offering useless 50,000 foot comments.


    Maybe he thinks this is like WWI or WWII where the US entered the game in Europe late.

  19. Dave of Maryland

    When I went to the cancelled Greek referendum story, Google said the Michael Hudson interview was too large to process (?) and then truncated the page, making it impossible to comment directly.

    1. Dave of Maryland

      Tried three or four times, and then suddenly it worked. This was with Chrome. Came up the first time with IE.

  20. Avg John


    Maybe I am the only one experiencing this problem, or maybe not?

    Anyway, the title links in the “Recent Items” section of NC are barely readable on my screen, as they have a very washed out look.

    When I change the “opacity” level of the parent span tag to .90 form .25, it darkens the links and makes them much easier to read. I don’t know if it’s a cross browser styling issue or my ancient P.C.

    Anyway, for your webmaster or designer:

    I’m using Firefox 7.01, if that is any help.


Comments are closed.